You Can’t Sail Today’s Boat on Yesterdays Wind
– Michael Noel
The days of hunches, intuitions, and incomplete or misleading perspectives are rapidly disappearing. Today, savvy marketers and forward-looking organizations are embracing innovative new models driven by cutting-edge technology and analytics to align sales and marketing, pinpoint (and respond to) customer needs, and achieve breakthrough revenue gains.
Marketing? Well, how hard can that be?
I mean, that’s just a bunch of “creative” people who sit around and brainstorm great ideas, right? They’re the guys and gals who write clever headlines and draw up eye-popping graphics. They write the jingles we can’t get out of our heads. They make billboards and glossy ads in magazines. They’re the artists of the business world. If that clichéd view of marketing was ever even true, it certainly isn’t today. Don Draper’s mythical, idealized image of photo shoots, genius sloganeering, big budgets, and office cocktails has long since given way to new and unforgiving reality.
In almost every way imaginable, marketing is in the midst of a dramatic transformation that is rewriting the rules of how brands engage with prospects and customers. Today, however, the ratio of art to science is the inverse of what we’ve grown accustomed to. Previously, marketing was once primarily about the art of telling stories to vast segments of people. The emphasis was on delivering high concepts in a one-way monologue—and hoping for a response. The “science” component typically involved little more than loosely grouping audiences into vaguely defined demographic segments and judging results according to a few crude metrics. Today, that ratio has been inverted. I certainly don’t mean to diminish the excellence of creative marketing teams—their work has only improved over time. In fact, the creative tools available to marketing now enable the creation of stunning illustrations, animation, multimedia, and interactive media.
But the rise of analytical precision in marketing has created unprecedented opportunities for companies to bring a greater level of scientific precision and repeatable, scalable processes to their marketing efforts. Just as a traditional factory can repeatedly and consistently convert raw materials into finished goods, a modern marketing process can apply a range of analytical disciplines, software tools, and other concepts and components to convert its demand-generation activities into a factory of sorts—“to manufacture demand.”’